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How to Use the Dial Phone

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How to Use the Dial Phone

Publication date 1927
Digitizing sponsor American Telephone and Telegraph Co. (AT&T)
Training film for users of the new dial telephones.


Gould can 1095. HOW TO USE THE DIAL PHONE. Instructional film on use of the dial telephone, produced for showing in the Fresno, California market.

Telephones Communication


Reviewer: Pleonic - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 5, 2017
Subject: The Day We Learned to Use the New-Fangled Phones
What a great little artifact of history this is. In 1927 grandparents or great-grandparents went down to the local theater and watched this film to learn how to use the new rotary phones that were being installed.

Really a pretty fascinating thing!
Reviewer: ron1943 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 16, 2005
Subject: Great movie
The first phone we had outside Napa California was a crank powered party line where you gave the operator the phone number. We went from that to direct dial in about 1950 or 51 and this brought back great memories about that change when I was about 7 years old. Thank you!
Ron Parker - Ukiah Calif
Reviewer: winterchild003 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 15, 2005
Subject: Remember when?
Some of us remember when! You'd pick up the phone, and an operator would say, "Number, please..." When party lines were everyday, and private lines were for the more advantaged! Now we think we have all the bells and whistles...but...if we have come this far in just 60 years...can you begin to imagine what the next 60 will bring?
Reviewer: trafalgar - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 10, 2004
Subject: An eye-opener
This will get you thinking about all the things you take for granted. Something as simple and seemingly natural as using the telephone was totally new to another generation, not too long ago.
Unfortunately this ends abruptly, and seems to be cut off, but is definitely worth watching anyway.
And man oh man, those poor operators! I hope they were well-paid...
Reviewer: dynayellow - favoritefavoritefavorite - September 5, 2003
Subject: Sarah, get me Mt. Pilot!
Interesting history piece informing the public on how to use the new phones that are going to be in service AFTER midnight on the 28th! AFTER! AFTER! How many times must we tell you!

Mixes animation of what appears to be the Katzenjammer Kid's mother with live action footage. Surreal moment: cardboard finger appearing to point out what not to jiggle when dialing.

Silent film.
Reviewer: Archiveman - favorite - September 4, 2003
Subject: This is a funny video.
Thats right spuzz i have never used a dial phone befor only push button. Becuase i was born after the dial era. Im sure some day they will have voice regignition telephones and they will have videos for those too.
Reviewer: Spuzz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 14, 2003
Subject: Don't use the blue book before May 27th!
Utterly fascinating demo film made by Ma Bell introducing the nice people of fresno the latest invention of 1927, the dial telephone! We get a great demo here aided by a lovely lady and some nice animation. Some fasciting points:
Dialling 8 will get you information from some VERY overworked operators.
Make Sure you dial the number ALL THE WAY!
All of this makes this film a MUST SEE on this site!
Reviewer: zorach - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 5, 2003
Subject: How much we take for granted today!
One may chuckle at the thought if having to teach someone to use a rotary-dial telephone (come to think of it, there's a whole generation of kids today who have never used a rotary dial!). When viewed as objectively as possible, all the points raised in this little film are valid. It couldn't have been obvious to a first-time user of the dial phone what was meant by a dial tone and a busy signal, or even what the finger stop was for! As with any new technology, some explanation is required before operation becomes second-nature. In any event, this little film demonstrates just how far we've come since the 20s. It's also a good example of why one shouldn't take too much for granted when dealing with other cultures!
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